Oscar-Winner Louise Fletcher Dead At 88

Posted September 24, 2022 by with 8 comments

Like so many, I’ll of course never forget her as Nurse Ratched. A complete bio and obituary is here, but here’s an excerpt from Variety:

Louise Fletcher, who won the best actress Oscar for her indelible performance as Nurse Ratched in Milos Forman’s “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest,” died Friday at her home in France, according to a rep. She was 88. The classic film, based on Ken Kesey’s novel and exploring the repressive tendency of authority through the story of the patients and staff of a psych ward, won five Oscars in 1976, including best picture and best actor for Jack Nicholson.

On TV Fletcher had played family matriarch Peggy “Grammy” Gallagher, a cunning ex-con who nevertheless wanted a relationship with her grandchildren, on Showtime’s “Shameless.” She was Emmy nominated for guest roles on “Picket Fences” in 1996 and on “Joan of Arcadia” in 2004.

In the 1979 drama “Natural Enemies,” she starred with Hal Holbrook, playing a husband who murders his family. In 1999’s “Cruel Intentions,” she played a genial, warm-hearted Long Island aristocrat.

Other film credits include “Exorcist II: The Heretic,” starring with Richard Burton and Linda Blair; sci-fier “Brainstorm,” with Christopher Walken and Natalie Wood; “Firestarter,” starring a young Drew Barrymore; and “2 Days in the Valley.”

Estelle Louise Fletcher was born in Birmingham, Alabama. Her parents were Deaf; she was introduced to acting by the aunt who taught her, at age 8, to speak.


In Fletcher’s moving Academy Award acceptance speech in 1976, she thanked her parents using sign language: